Jun 25

This past weekend was the ARRL VHF/UHF Contest, and I normally dive into this contest with maximum effort, but with long time friends in town that we have not seen in 6 or 7 years and spending time with them all day Saturday, that left only Sunday and I need to do a quick trip to pick up some Antennas just south of Houston.

So Ruth and I thought it would be fun to operate Sunday as a Rover, so with her logging, and me operating we hopped into the truck and headed to Alvin Texas which is 186 miles away as the crow flies.

With the radio dialed in on 144.200 USB, we pulled out of the house.

Announced we were in the contest and roving.

We immediately worked KB2WDM in Schertz, followed by K5QE in Hemphill, TX. Marshal is 336 miles from our first contact location. With a single omni directional loop antenna built by Tom K5VH and 120 watts mobile we worked K5QE in EM31 and quickly knocked out additional contacts around the region.

On the Trip we made 17 contacts, working several stations in every grid on our drive {EL-09, EL-19, EL-29}.

Take Horizontal polarization with it’s reduced noise, good take off angle and Single Side Band with the ability to hear and pull intelligence out of a weaker signal and you get one of the reasons you can communicate at much greater ranges then possible with FM, and you will understand the fun and the thrill of what you can accomplish with VHF/UHF Weak Signal.
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Jun 25

2ND Annual HAMSTER Lunch and Learn Event

JULY 1ST 2017

Welcome to the HAMster Weak Signal Group Lunch and Learn. The purpose of this event is to bring a large group of HAMs together for some education and fun. We want to introduce you not only to the HAMster Group, but also to VHF/UHF Dxing. If you have never experienced the trhill of working stations on 2 metersa nd up 500, 1000 or even 1,500 miles, with daily contacts in the 100 to 150 mile range, then come join us.

Join us for Hot Dogs, Chips, Soda and VE Session with VHF/UHF training classes. Special Weak Signal Training by FLEX Radio, and the HAMster Group.

Flex Radio will be on hand to demonstrate the new products and advantages for VHF/UHF Weak Signal/EME/Meteor Scatter.

License Testing available for new hams or upgrades to your license will be held at 2pm. $15 per test taker. Please contact Pat AD5BR at HAMTEST@GMAIL.COM for details and to RSVP for the test session (not same address as used to register for the Lunch and Learn).

Raffle and Swap Meet
RAFFLE TICKETS $5 EACH OR 5 FOR $20

1ST PLACE: YAESU FUSION RADIO
2ND PLACE: K5VH 2 METER SSB OMNI ANTENNA
3RD PLACE PRIZES AND DOOR PRIZES WILL BE AWARDED AS WELL

TRAINING AND LUNCH IS FREE

Saturday July 1st 2017
8:am Kick-Off to 3:Pm

Event to be held at the American Red Cross, 3642 E. Houston St, San Antonio, Tx. (Please use the Houston St side entrance to enter the building.)

RSVP to: N5xo@144200.net
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Aug 30

(Karnes County) The Otto Kaiser Memorial Hospital in Kenedy, Texas, has contacted us asking for help in joining the 21st century of ham radio communications.   🙂   I put them in touch with the ARES leaders for that district (Karnes County) and some others.  Ongoing discussion is starting up to cover a NDMS drill on the morning of September 20th.   The problem is that there are only about 10 hams licensed in that immediate area, with 2 of them (husband / wife) being registered hams and over the road truck drivers.

The hospital has a Kenwood dual band TM-D700 mobile radio that they are in the process of moving to a new location within the hospital.  They also want to establish HF Packet / Winlink capabilities.  Help with designing the antenna system and equipment will likely be needed.  I’m presuming the hospital is willing to budget for the equipment, but you know that presuming can be dangerous at times.

The latest word that I received (yesterday) was that the hospital would like someone to teach a class for some of their hospital employees and area volunteers to create a new batch of hams.    Of course, using HF would require a ham license of at least General class.

If you would like to help, please email me at info@sanantoniohams.org with the words “Karnes County” in the subject line.  I’ll forward your information to John Taylor KE5HAM (STXARES District 10 DEC)  in Victoria.

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Jun 16
W2IK LADDER LINE BACK PACK ANTENNA
     GREAT FOR CAMPING OR EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS
              
BOB HEJL – W2IK
EVER WISH YOU HAD A VERY SIMPLE, LIGHT WEIGHT HAM RADIO ANTENNA THAT COULD BE STUFFED IN YOUR BACKPACK AND DOES NOT NEED A TUNER? HERE IS A SIMPLE DESIGN THAT I BUILT MANY YEARS AGO AND FOUND IT TO BE VERY USEFUL WHILE CAMPING OR FOR EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS. IT’S GREAT IF YOU DON’T HAVE THE ABILITY TO TAKE ALONG MY “IK-STIC 2″ANTENNA (TO BUILD THAT ANTENNA, SEE ANOTHER POSTING ON THIS SITE.
WHEN YOU ARE CAMPING, YOU HAVE TO MAKE COMPROMISES. THE SAME IS TRUE ABOUT CAMPINGWITH HAM RADIO. USUALLY YOU’LL BE OPERATING ON 20 METERS IN THE DAY AND 40 METERS AT NIGHT. THAT BEING SAID, I DEVISED A VERY SIMPLE ANTENNA IN A SINGLE FORM THAT WILL COVER BOTH BANDS WITHOUT THE NEED FOR A TUNER.
TO BUILD THIS ANTENNA YOU WILL NEED
50 FEET OF 450 – 600 OHM LADDER LINE (NOT TWIN LEAD)
2 THREE INCH PIECES OF 1/2 INCH PVC TUBING
ONE CENTER CONNECTOR (DIPOLE TYPE-WIRE TO SO-239 CONNECTOR)
UNROLL THE COIL OF LADDER LINE AND CUT THE LADDER LINE IN HALF SO YOU HAVE TWO LENGTHS EXACTLY 25 FEET LONG.   EACH LENGTH BECOMES A SIDE OF YOUR DIPOLE SYSTEM. AT THE EVERY END OF EACH WIRE, STRIP OFF THE INSULATION EXPOSING ABOUT 4 INCHES OF BARE WIRE. ON ONE SIDE OF EACH LADDER LINE TWIST THE BARE WIRES TOGETHER AND SOLDER ONE END OF EACH LADDER LINE TO THE WIRES ON THE CENTER CONNECTOR.
 (SEE PICTURE BELOW)
AT THE OTHER END OF EACH OF THE LENGTHS OF LADDER LINE, TAKE ONE PIECE OF 1/2 INCH PVCTUBE AND SLIDE THE WIRES THROUGH 1/4 INCH HOLE DRILLED NEAR ONE END OF THE PVC TUBE. PULL THE PVC AROUND SO YOU CAN CONNECT THE WIRES TO EACH OTHER AND SOLDER THEM TOGETHER.
(SEE PHOTO OF THE ONE OF THE TWO END INSULATORS BELOW)
DRILL ANOTHER 1/4 INCH HOLE ON THE OTHER END OF THE PVC TUBE SO YOU CAN HANG THE DIPOLE SYSTEM UP USING NYLON CORD.
                           THE SPECIAL CUT
NOW JUST ONE MORE THING TO DO. IN ORDER TO MAKE THIS A 40 AND 20 METER ANTENNA, YOU NEED TO MEASURE 16.4 FEET FROM THE MIDDLE OF THE CENTER CONNECTOR AND ON ONE WIRE OF EACH SIDE OF THE LADDER LINE YOU WILL CLIP OUT A 1/4 INCH SECTION OF WIRE. IF POSSIBLE, CLIP THE SECTION OUT WHERE THERE IS A SEPARATING PIECE OF THE LADDER LINE WEBBING SO THE ANTENNA WILL BE PHYSICALLY MORE STABLE.
 THIS WILL LEAVE YOU WITH TWO ANTENNAS IN ONE SYSTEM. ONE ANTENNA’S TOTAL DIPOLE LENGTH IS 32.8 FEET (16.4 FEET ON EACH DIPOLE LEG) OR A 20 METER DIPOLE, AND THE OTHER IS THE 40 METER DIPOLE AS THE WIRE IN LADDER LINE YOU DIDN’T CLIP WILL NOW RUN THE ENTIRE LENGTH OF EACH SIDE, CONTINUE AROUND THE END INSULATORS AND CONTINUE IN A HAIRPIN  RUN AROUND TO THE OTHER (LOWER) SIDE OF THE LADDER LINE ON THAT SAME SIDE MAKING A LENGTH OF ABOUT 66.8 FEET TOTAL OR 33.4 FEET ON EACH LEG (LESS THAN THE MATH OF JUST ADDING AND SUBTRACTING BECAUSE YOU LOST LENGTH WHEN YOU SOLDERED THE WIRES THAT ARE IN THE END CONNECTORS) THIS IS FINE FOR A 40 METER DIPOLE.
 THERE IS JUST A LITTLE INTERACTION WITH THE TWO ANTENNAS SO CLOSE TOGETHER. IF YOU WISH TO BE REALLY FUSSY, YOU MAY WANT TO DO THE WIRE CLIP ACTION AND CHECK THE TUNING USING AN ANTENNA ANALYZER. IF THIS IS THE CASE, DO NOT CLIP OUT A 1/4 INCH PIECE YET, JUST CLIP THE WIRE, MEASURE THE SWR WITH THE ANTENNA HUNG AND MAKE ANY CORRECTIONS (DO THIS BYRESOLDERING THE CUT YOU MADE AND MAKE ANOTHER CUT DEPENDING UPON THE ANTENNA’SRESONANT FREQUENCY). ALTHOUGH THIS ANTENNA IS NOT AS EFFICIENT ON 40 METERS AS A DIPOLESTRUNG OUT INSTEAD OF FOLDED, I HAVE USED THIS ANTENNA ON MANY OUTINGS WITH GREATRESULTS AND IT IS MORE CONVIENT TO PUT UP OR STORE. YOU CAN EASILY COIL IT UP AND STORE INYOUR BACK PACK. IT CAN BE PUT UP AS A DIPOLE, SLOPER OR INVERTED “V”. MAKE SURE YOU HAVENON-CONDUCTING CORD TO HANG IT UP. AND BY THE WAY, SINCE THE 40 METER SECTION LOOPSAROUND, ALL YOU NEED IS 52 FEET BETWEEN TREES TO HANG THIS ANTENNA AS A DIPOLE!!!
LADDER LINE ANTENNA
COILED UP FOR STORING IN ABACK PACK SO IT CAN BE USEDWHILE HIKING OR CAMPING
ALL DESIGNS COPYRIGHTED
BY W2IK – BOB HEJL
MY NOT BE USED WITHOUT
AUTHOR CREDIT

 

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Jun 15
W2IK’s “IK-STIC 2”
DESIGNED BY BOB HEJL – W2IK
(PUBLISHED IN AUGUST 2004)
The “IK-STIC 2” is a vertical, all band, antenna that is over 25 feet tall yet weighs under 5 pounds !Using a tuner it can easily cover the amateur radio HF bands from 40 – 10 Meters.  No unsightly wires as the radiating wire is inside the telescoping mast!
TO CONSTRUCT THIS ANTENNA YOU NEED:
ONE SD-20 Telescoping mast (WorldRadio sells these)
ONE  6 foot section of 1 1/2 inch PVC Pipe
50 feet of 20 or 22 gauge STRANDED, INSULATED Wire
ONE SO-239 Barrel Connector with washers and Nuts
ONE male and female push on connectors (see photos)
TWO Large (6 inch) Hose clamps (see photos)
Electrical Tape, Epoxy, Duct tape and asst. hardware.

ANTENNA CONSTRUCTION

                                 

FITTING THE INTERNAL ANTENNA WIRE INSIDE THE TELESCOPING MAST:
Take the SD-20 telescoping mast and remove the bottom cap by unscrewing it.Looking in you will see the sections nestled in place. Remove the rubber plugfrom the next to thinnest section so now all the sections are “open”.  Carefullytake a 21 foot piece of 20 gauge, stranded, insulated wire and tie a very smallknot at the end. Take the knotted end and insert it into the smallest section ofthe telescoping mast and using a straight wire made from a coat hanger, shovethe stranded wire into the section as far as it can go. Then take a small amountof epoxy and glue the wire into place so it can’t be removed from the top section.SLOWLY telescope out the entire mast, making sure that the wire slides insideeasily. When the mast is fully extended you will have almost 20 feet of wireinside. Leave about 5 inches after the mast is fully extended and cut the wire.This will leave a 5 inch “play” to connect the wire at the bottom. NowCAREFULLY drill a small hole in the rubber base of the mast pointing outSIDEWAYS.  Epoxy a push on connector into the hole. Solder another 4 inchpiece of that same stranded wire onto the connector on the INSIDE. On thebottom cap of the mast, drill a hole that will allow you to half way insert, andtightly secure, that SO-239 barrel connector.  Carefully epoxy it on the inside ofthe cap so it won’t loosen. Next, solder the long wire that is in the mast onto theinner part of the SO-239 connector.  Solder the wire from the push on terminal tothe outer section of the SO-239 connector.  Take the cap and give it about 7 COUNTER CLOCK WISE turns so the two wires are twisted. This way, when youscrew the cap on, the wires will untwist in the mast.  Tighten the end cap, but donot glue it.
WINDING THE PVC COIL SECTION:
Next take 25 feet of that same stranded wire and start to wrap it around the 11/2″ PVC pipe at a point 14 inches from one end. (This becomes the top end.) MAKE SURE YOU LEAVE 8 inches of “free wire” before you start the coil wrap.Slowly wind the wire around the PVC pipe creating a coil, leaving a spacing of 11/2 – 2 inches from each turn. As you wind it down the pipe, you may wish tosecure it every so often with electrical tape. The winding does not have to be exact, but keep it as evenly spaced as you can. One foot before the bottom,create a tight wrap of the wire, leaving no gaps on the turns. At the end, tape thewire to the PVC pipe. When you are done, wrap the entire coil in electrical tape so the coil stays in place. On the top end, solder a mating end of a push onconnector so it can plug into the mast’s side connector.
Wrap several turns of Duct Tape to the very top of the PVC mast. This will serveto offset the taper in the telescoping mast when it gets mounted to the PVC pipe.  Using two adjustable hose clamps, carefully mount the very bottom of thetelescoping mast to the top one foot of the PVC pipe. DO NOT OVER TIGHTEN. It takes very little compression to keep the mast in place. When you have done this, you can extend the mast out it’s entire 20 foot length. To keep the entire antenna up-right, slip it over a 4 foot section of appropriate thin wall steel tubing that has been pounded in the ground about one foot. The lower coiled section of the antenna on the PVC pipe will then be slightly “ground coupled”. This helps with the antenna’s operation on 30 and 40 meters.  Plug in the lower coil (The PVC pipe) into the male  connector on the side of the telescoping mast. The SO-239 connector is where you screw in your coax cable to your radio. Make a few windings of whatever coax you are using at the connector point and tape them tightly together to prevent RF from returning on the coax shield. Connect the other end of the cable to your tuner and you are all set to go !!.
IMPORTANT: When you attach your coax to the antenna, make sure that the cable is dressed away and at as close to a right angle from the coil base for at least 5 feet and NOT down along it’s windings. Doing this will help prevent RF emitted from the coil from being radiated back on the coax shield and also will prevent “RF bites” at your radio point….ouch!  The pictures are merely for display and do not indicate the coax properly run.This step is very important in it’s proper operation. Keep the coax away from the coil assembly!
 To dis-assemble the antenna, just remove the coax, loosen the hose clamps and take down the mast after unplugging the PVC coil plug.  CAREFULLY retract the mast and the internal wire should slowly coil down into the masting. DO NOT FORCE THE SECTIONS. A few gentle jiggles and a twist or two will do the trick. After several uses it will be easier to retract the sections as the internal wire will have “memorized” how to coil up. You can even store the telescoping mast in the PVC pipe by making a small slot at the bottom of the PVC tube toaccommodate the connector that is on the side of the telescoping mast .   Theantenna is very simple, light and works well when tuned properly. My first contact was on 15 meters when I spoke to Siberia. I have used it on all the bands it covers and have also made an adapter so it mounts on the ball hitch of my truck. This is great when you are parked and can’t make a hole in the ground. (NOTE: If you wish to make an “IK-STIC 2” that covers 160-10 meters with a tuner, use a 7 FOOT PVC PIPE  instead of the 6 ft. PVC and coil  35 feet of wire around it using 1 inch spacing between wraps and two feet near the end increase the spacing until you run out of the wire and the end of the coil wrap is four – sixinches from the bottom of the PVC pipe. Any longer coil winding that this willmake it difficult to tune the antenna on 10 meters.) (Use the rest of the antennabuilding dimensions as outlined above.)
A SPECIAL NOTE: IF YOU ARE HAVING PROBLEMS WITH THIS ANTENNAIT CAN USUALLY BE TRACED TO THE FACT THAT WHEN YOU BUILT IT,YOUR INTERNAL WIRES TO THE CONNECTOR WERE EITHER NOT FULLY UNTWISTED OR YOU ALLOWED TOO MANY TURNS SO IT UNTWISTEDTHEN  TWISTED BACK. MAKE SURE YOU DO AN ACCURATE COUNT SOTHE TWO WIRES ARE NOT TWISTED  IF NOT THE WIRES WILL BECOUPLED AND THE ANTENNA WILL NOT WORK PROPERLY.
AN ADDITIONAL QUICKIE MODIFICATION:
Epoxy two 1 1/4 inch thin wall PVC sleeves to the lower section of the telescoping mast so they will prevent the telescoping mast from beingcrushed by “over exuberant” tightening of the two hose clamps that hold the telescoping section to the other (coil) section.
REMEMBER…. it’s called the “IK-STIC 2”  
Designed by Bob Hejl – W2IK
This antenna has been used at Field Day operations, SpecialEvents Stations, JOTA Events and County Activations with greatresults.
 

 

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May 12

The Bexar Operators Group, with W2IK at the helm, will be operating this year’s 2015 ARRL Field Day at the Choke Canyon State Park’s Caliham Unit near the town of Three Rivers about 70 miles south of San Antonio. We will be operating at the “Screened Shelter” area (These are full cabins WITH air conditioning)

If you are interested in joining us, drop an email at W2IK@ARRL.NET for more information and to reserve your spot.

All food and drink will be supplied. The “class” of operation will be determined later.

We will be experimenting with different antennas ranging from NVIS to “Inverted V”and Wire Beam styles apexed up to 50 feet.

Although all of our antennas do not require tuners when used on their proper frequencies, we will have several types of tuners available so we can compare how antennas compare when attempting to match non-resonant elements on frequencies other than the antennas’ intended use.

We will be using solar powered (400 watts) energy for equipment operation and 12 volt DC lighting systems will be displayed so attendees can see how a DC lighting system works during any emergency communications work and which are the best types to have on hand. There is a big difference between 12 volt incandescent, LED and florescent systems.

Space is limited to 8 persons, so please check with us for availability. New hams are encouraged to make the trip as there will be a wealth of information available.

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Aug 6

boot_camp_logo_smA small section from our 200 page “JUMP TEAM BOOT CAMP” training manual
by Bob Hejl – W2IK

Your Em-Comm deployment group is only as good as the antennas they use. With this in mind, you must use antennas that are “tried and true” yet simple to erect in an emergency. They DO NOT have to be expensive. They should not be an elaborate concoction of wires or elements (NO BEAMS… You are NOT working DX as 99% of all HF emergency communications will be on the lower HF bands and probably not more than 300 miles).

There was only one case in over 20 years where I had to do emergency communications using 10 meters and this was communicating from New York to Hawaii (which had a hurricane) and relay the traffic back to California because due to propagation neither Hawaii or California could hear each other.

Your antennas DO have to work – every time and under a myriad of conditions such as freezing weather, monsoon-type rains, sustained winds or sizzling heat. They must also be stored and ONLY used for deployment purposes. They should not be something you scrounge together before heading out for a deployment. Back up antennas are vital. You need to have redundancy (two of each antenna so if there is a problem, such as a branch falls down on one that makes it un-repairable, or a failure such as a center connector breaking or burning out, it will not prevent you from getting on the air)

There is NO SUCH THING AS A “MIRACLE ANTENNA” no matter what you’ve read in ads or what a few hams “swear” by.

Emergency deployment is no game. If you need a question answered about a particular antenna, feel free to email me: alonestaryank@aol.com

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Sep 13

King Kong portable antenna by K5NNN AndrewKING KONG DUAL BAND ANTENNA 2 METER & 70 CM

This Antenna comes in Dual Band  2 meter &  70 cm..
or just single band for 2 meter or just 70 cm.
We also make them for 220 mHz

FACTS

1.     WATER PROOF
2.     MADE OF 450 PSI   PVC PIPE
3.    OMNI – DIRECTIONAL
4.     6 dbi  on VHF,   8 dbi or better on UHF
5.     V.S.W.R.  1.2 and no higher than 1.8
6.    POWER  150 Watts
7.    VERTICAL  OMNI  With no radials
8.    LENGTH   72 Inches
9.    WIND SPEED  150 +
10.  Screw Hook in top for easy suspension / hanging
11.   Standard SO-239 Chassis Connector (coax not included)

COST $45. FOR SINGLE BAND – VHF, UHF,  or 220 mHz

COST $65. FOR DUAL BAND VHF AND UHF

If you would like one call Andrew K5NNN on his cell  210-422-5304

See more pics below.. Read the rest of this entry »

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Dec 10

An amateur radio operator from Australia, VK4ION, recently posted on her website a story about reading W2IK’s Emergency NVIS antenna construction plans and with some adaptation building her own portable ENVIS antenna system for emergency communications. Her website, VK4ION Emergency N.V.I.S. antenna, shows in detail, with many pictures, her construction of this antenna along with NVIS theories on how low antennas are perfect for local (under 400 mile) emergency communications. A photo of her ENVIS antenna is shown below.

Her report included comments such as when it was used during their “field day” operation it was the “hit of the show”. On her website is also a link to W2IK’s 4 part website on building the original antenna including the adapter for 80 meter and MARS operation. This antenna is the only NVIS antenna posted in the NAVMC MARS websites.

Bob W2IK

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Oct 18

Medina County ARC
Great Antenna Shootout & Tail Gate Swap Fest

Date: November 13, 2010       Time: 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM

Hondo Community Center
1014 18th Street
Hondo, TX 78861

Contact: Walter Hock/KK5LO (281) 684-8075

Entry: FREE – ZIP – NADA

Categories: (Commercial & Home Brew)
1. Beginners – Single Element
2. Beginners – Multi Element
3. Old Pro – Single Element
4. Old Pro – Multi Element

• Are you the next Marconi or Tesla?
• Have you designed and built the best 2M antenna ever made?
• Do you want to know how yourfavorite commercial 2M antenna stacks up?

If you answered yes to any of the above, then you need to come to the
Great Antenna Shootout & Tail Gate Swap Fest

Make your YL happy and bring your “old” stuff to sell too!
Or buy just one thing you’ve been looking for..

Food & drinks will be sold to raise funds for the Mediina County Amateur Club!

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